Continental commissioned Tauw for long-term projects for its subsidiaries in Brazil and Belgium. Investigation activities as well as remediation of soil and groundwater contamination started in the late 1990s.
Continental Automotive do Brasil is located in the municipality of Várzea Paulista. It has several areas which are heavily contaminated with volatile chlorinated hydrocarbons (VOCl) and hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) to a depth of up to 150 m below grade. Tauw is the project manager and planner for this remediation project. One of the first and biggest in Brazil. After thorough investigation we came up with a complex remediation plan comprising various technical approaches to the contaminated soil, groundwater, and soil vapour. At that time, experiences with this kind of remediation within Brazilian environmental agencies were low because such environmental projects were only just starting. This made the challenge even bigger. We had to put in quite some effort to convince the São Paulo environment agency and the responsible district attorney to sign a remediation contract that defined the onditions for a remediation period of twenty years.
The remediation is being carried out under the supervision of Tauw and Grupo EPA, Tauw’s partner consultancy in Brazil. Current activities comprise groundwater abstraction and purification, multiphase extraction and excavation of contaminated soil. We constantly monitor the project with different modelling tools. And we apply innovative remediation approaches when appropriate. Tauw contributed to the fact that remediation water is now being re-used by local industry. This is a welcome sustainable solution in the São Paulo region, with its current lack of water and frequent periods of drought.
The remediation project in Belgium is one of the more complex ones that Tauw Belgium has realized to date. The Continental plant in Mechelen produces antilock braking systems for almost the entire Western-European car industry. And a serious groundwater contamination with chlorinated solvents was delineated during the soil survey. Due to local conditions and the different remediation techniques applied, a thorough follow up and interpretation of the field data was obligatory to obtain maximum contaminant mass removal. We guided the project on an almost daily basis, in close cooperation with the local people in charge. The open communication between Tauw staff and Continental staff resulted in lasting and mutual trust. This relationship led to the successful implementation of the project.
“Tauw is always a competent partner who offers suitable and economical solutions. The projects are in good shape!”
Thomas Sewald - Head of Environment Automotive Corporate Quality & Environment Continental